Court Coronavirus Information

Court Operation Guidance 

Most Recent Guidance

  • Courts should use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely.

  • Courts may require all persons to participate remotely. With the introduction of the remote proceedings capability through Zoom, most essential and non-essential proceedings, except for jury trials, can be conducted remotely, and there are no limitations on these remote proceedings so long as reasonable notice and access is provided to the participants and the public.

  • Non-essential in-person proceedings of any size must be delayed until June 1.

  • Essential proceedings should occur in person only if holding the proceeding remotely is not possible or practicable.

    • Examples of essential proceedings include: criminal magistration proceedings, CPS removal and adversary hearings, temporary restraining orders/temporary injunctions, juvenile detention hearings, family violence and other protective orders, and specialty court proceedings. If you want to inquire whether other proceedings are essential, please consult with your Regional Presiding Judge or contact coronavirus@txcourts.gov

  • If essential proceedings must be held in person, the court must ensure that:

    • No more than 10 persons are gathered in the courtroom or in areas around the courtroom (see exception below);

    • Participants wear face coverings where possible; and

    • Participants in the courtroom are separated consistent with social distancing and other precautions.

  • EXCEPTION: Essential proceedings may occur in person in excess of the 10-person maximum if the law requires more than 10 persons for the proceedings, such as grand jury deliberations.  Participants must be separated consistent with social distancing and should wear face coverings where possible. (Note: The Twelfth Emergency Order authorized grand jurors to participate in court proceedings remotely.)

Guidance for Court Proceedings on or after June 1, 2020

Currently, courts should not be conducting any non-essential proceedings in person. Effective June 1, courts may begin holding non-essential in-person hearings consistent with OCA’s Guidance to Courts Regarding All Court Proceedings. This guidance was developed following consultation with medical advisers from the Department of State Health Services. Courts who wish to delay non-essential in-person proceedings longer or who are advised to do so by local public health authorities may do so.

As noted in the Guidance to Courts Regarding All Court Proceedings, the local administrative district judges in each county and the presiding judge of each municipal court will be required to submit to the Regional Presiding Judge for their administrative judicial region a plan for all courts in the county or city, as appropriate, discussing measures that will be taken to protect litigants, the public, court staff, judges, and others visiting court buildings. The plans should be developed in consultation with local health authorities and the county judge or mayor, as appropriate. A template that can be modified as appropriate is available to assist you in this effort. In-person hearings, other than essential hearings that cannot be conducted remotely because doing so is not possible or practicable, may not be held on or after June 1 unless an operating plan has been submitted and acknowledged in writing by the Regional Presiding Judge.

A web meeting for local administrative district judges and presiding judges of municipal courts will be scheduled shortly to provide additional information and answer questions you may have. Should you have questions or need assistance with developing your operating plan, please contact coronavirus@txcourts.gov.